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Animal Kingdom is one of the parks located inside Disney World in Florida, and it is perhaps one of my favorites! Before going to this park, I imagined Animal Kingdom as a jungle-looking park full of fun rides. Well, I was wrong and I was right. Parts of the park are decorated with the utmost detail to the many regions featured throughout the park; from the jungles of Africa, to the ride of a lifetime on Expedition Everest in Asia, or the magical world of Pandora. The attention to detail makes all sections unique, fun and unforgettable. Let me tell you a bit about each section.
But before that, here are some tips:
1. Come early. If you don’t already have the fast pass for your favorite rides, get there as soon as the park opens, and go straight to your chosen ride. You will be close to the first one in line. Just so you are aware, since the World or Avatar opened, most people run in that direction to get on the two amazing rides featured in that section.
2. Wear comfy shoes. Yes, lots of walking!
3. Bring a Poncho. It’s Florida. It rains… a lot.
4. Bring some water. Walking a lot will make you want a drink.
OK, back to the park. Here are the sections explained:
ENTRANCE AND OASIS
As soon as you walk in through the doors, you’ll see the fabulous Rainforest Cafe, a wild eating experience surrounded by a jungle that seems to come alive. Don’t worry, real animals won’t eat your meal, but the feeling that you are inside the jungle is pretty cool.
This area is called the Oasis. You can walk around and enjoy the tropical gardens.
All main paths will take you to the very center of the park. The Discovery Island.
Literally an island. This section is surrounded by the Discovery river, and features a GIGANTIC tree of life. The Tree of Life is the center piece to the park. It is a work of art within itself. There are trails and pathways featuring small animals through these paths. When you get to the tree of life, just observe the magnificence of the carvings on the tree. You will be amazed.
Things to do: Wilderness Explorers– complete activities at your own pace.
It’s tough to be a bug- 3D movie inspired on “A Bug’s Life” where you lean about bugs, and feel some “special effects” This ride will take you inside the Tree of Life.
Adventurers Outpost– Where you can meet Minnie and Mickey.
Also, many places to catch a bite to eat, and a couple of souvenir stores, but every section has lots of these.
Starting to the right of the park you will next enter Dinoland.
Dinoland has a cute little fair ride-resembling section with Fossil Fun Games which is perfect for little kids, along with Primeval Whirl (warning if you suffer from back pain… the ride is old and very bumpy), and the TriceraTop Spin, which will take you flying over Dinoland. If you are into a more thrilling life style, head over to Dinosaur. A fantastic ride where you will encounter very realistic looking dinosaurs, right in front of your face… I mean, they are so close that you can probably smell their breath! (might not be suitable for very small children if they get scared of screaming beasts).
If you continue your trek to the right, you will enter Asia. Full with magical appeal, Asia is filled with birds singing, and animals roaming. Yes, you can walk (self guided) the paths of southern Asia in the Maharajah Jungle Trek, where you can see tigers, monkeys, bats and a Komodo dragon.
In Asia, please ride Expedition Everest. It’s not only a beautiful sight, but also thrilling, fast, and high…very high. And, as if that wasn’t enough adrenaline rushing through your veins, chill that high blood pressure with some splashes riding the Kali River Rapids. Wear a poncho for that one. Guaranteed you will get soaked.
There’s also the Flights of Wonder– and exotic bird show, Rivers of Light, and other special shows that vary by season.
Get lost in a jungle and find Gorillas. Yes, literally a jungle with Gorillas, in Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. This self guided path will take you to the tropical forest of Africa where you can see the wild animals in their habitat. Don’t worry. For some reason the animals do not get close to you. Don’t ask me how.
If you are into the wild life of he African Savanna, take the Kilimanjaro Safari and embark in a wild ride. You will be able to see lions, elephants and giraffes, among other animals. Animals are roaming free. Yes, wild animals roaming free to cross your path… but you are in a well protected caravan type of car, and I’m sure they have tricks and ways to keep the dangerous animals away.
In Africa you can also sit, relax and watch a show in The Festival of the Lion King, or get in touch with your inner conversationalist and head over to Rafki’s Planet Watch, where you can find out how the behind the scenes animal care looks like. Check out the hours on this one as it’s not readily available all the time.
Now you made your way around…get ready for the best part. Although it is (for now) the smallest section of the park, the Pandora, World of Avatar is the most magical.
PANDORA- THE WORLD OF AVATAR.
I have no words to describe this place other than magical and unbelievable. If you have seen the movie, Pandora, you will find this section of the park familiar. It looks and feels as if you are in a different world. If feels as if you are walking the jungles of Pandora, from the sounds, to the smells, to the vegetation and the landscape. It is so surreal, you are probably going to want to spend a long time here. But wait… you probably will if you don’t get a fast pass for the Navi River Journey and the Avatar Flight of passage, the only two rides here. You can wait in line for HOURS, three or four hours for 10-15 minutes of your life. Worth it? yes. I wouldn’t say that about many things, because waiting in line is not my favorite thing to do, but, especially the Flight of Passage, is the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever experience – and I’ve been to many places. By far, number one favorite ride in the world. IN THE WORLD. Every single person that rides this will tell you the same.
What is the Flight of Passage? It’s your chance to become an avatar of a Na’vi and fly on a banshee. You are genetically put into a machine and fly on a banshee. No, seriously, I’m not even exaggerating. It feels so real, that the theatricals of getting your DNA and blah, blah, blah (watch the movie) might be true. Also, don’t forget to adopt a Banshee when you are done. They need homes too, you know.
This very advanced 4D simulator is the best of the best. Do not leave the park without doing it.
What are fast passes, what to do in Disney, what rides are recommended? Here. Read this: RELATED: OTHER DISNEY PARKS: A GUIDE, TIPS, DO’S and DON’TS
There are many good places to snack, eat, and have ice cream in Animal Kingdom, as well as plenty of good shops. Just remember to get to your chosen first ride first thing in the morning (if you don’t have a fast pass) and wear comfy shoes. That’s all you need. Have the time of your life surrounded by nature.
P.S. Customer relations was amazing when we went. Hubby lost his wrist arm inside the Dinosaur ride. We thought it was lost in time, forever. Well… since the wrist arms have credit card and fast passes info, we had to report it to customer service…. and voila! They actually found it! Apparently they are loaded with a very precises GPS locator. They are watching you!
What is your favorite ride? Let me know in the comments!!!1